The council has made a submission to the Government’s £1bn Future High Streets Fund, for a town centre regeneration project to redevelop the former M&S and BHS stores into a community learning hub.
The project, known as ‘StockRoom’ aims to create a “future-focused” public services facility on the site of the retail units that Stockport Council purchased in the Merseyway shopping centre last year.
The hub would also celebrate the culture and creativity of the town and provide a space that encourages people to spend valuable leisure time there, a statement from the council said.
If successful, the £14.5m bid would enable the authority to increase its planned investment in the StockRoom project by £8m.
Cllr Elise Wilson, leader of Stockport Council, said: “We are in unprecedented and difficult times but as a council we are absolutely focused on building back better.
“We already have ambitious plans in place for Stockport like the transport hub, the arrival of Metrolink and a revitalised town centre, but this additional funding will really strengthen all our town centre has to offer.”
The council is currently progressing its overhaul of the 55-year-old Merseyway shopping centre, with the first phase – a stairway and lift core connecting Adlington Walk to the main shopping mall – having commenced in May.
Another town centre project, the £120m Stockport Interchange scheme to redevelop an area around Stockport bus station, is underway, with Willmott Dixon chosen as the main contractor in February.
Also, last month, Manchester-based developer Capital & Centric confirmed its purchase of Weir Mill, and is planning a £60m residential conversion to bring 250 flats to the Greater Manchester town.
StockRoom is part of this wider development and will “act as a catalyst to attract even more investment into the town”, said Cllr David Meller, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economy at Stockport Council.
This week, Oldham Council submitted a £25m bid to the Government’s Towns Fund, with four projects earmarked to benefit.
These are the development of office space in Oldham town centre; a flexible performance space in the emerging cultural quarter; the town centre district heating network, and a visitor centre and other infrastructure for the Northern Roots eco-park project.